Continuing with our “engagement moon,” our next stop was Edinburgh. This was my second time visiting this incredible city and Katie’s first, so I really wanted to make this special for her. I first visited this city while I was living in Dublin back in 2014 for their New Years festival, Hogmany, which is amazing and deserving of its own separate post. As I detailed in the post on booking the trip, I was focused on Club Carlson properties due to my abundance of available points from the Club Carlson Visa card. The Radisson Blu Royal Mile and G&V Royal Mile were our only two options in Old Town. Both are fantastic options for exploring the city, as they are roughly a 5-minute walk from each other on the famous “Royal Mile,” which stretches from Edinburgh castle all the way to Holyrood Palace. Both properties were going for 70,000 points a night or $167.19 per night, a phenomenal value, so I decided to save the points and pay with cash, but I was still determined to get some value. The Radisson Blue was undergoing construction, so it was the G&V by default for us, and I booked the first two nights through the American Express Hotel Collection, using my American Express Premier Rewards Gold card, by doing this I not only earned 2x points on my hotel purchase, but I also earned a $75 credit towards any purchase at the hotel (including spa services, room service, etc.), as well as a free room upgrade. I booked the other two nights through Club Carlson directly and called the hotel to ask them to combine the reservations, which they happily did.
After an easy, uneventful, 45-minute Aer Lingus flight, we arrived in Edinburgh and took the Air Link bus for the roughly 20-minute ride to Waverly station. I’m usually a big fan of airport bus shuttles, but if I had to do it again, I’d probably take a black cab directly to the hotel. This is mostly because where the Air Link drops you off, it’s a pretty steep hill to climb when you’re carrying both your bags, although it’s only about a 7-minute walk to the G&V. Nonetheless, after our quad workout, we arrived.
Situated in Old town just steps away from Edinburgh Castle, you absolutely cannot go wrong here. The hotel is on the corner of George IV Bridge, Victoria Street, and The Royal Mile, being within walking distance to all the major attractions in Edinburgh. As for nearby attractions, you can walk along the Royal mile to Edinburgh Castle to take in the stunning views, or if you came here for the whiskey (it’s not scotch here), the Scotch Whiskey experience is practically next door (this might have played a role in my decision). Not to mention, all of our tours picked us up right around the corner from the hotel (it’s the central meeting location for most of the tours from the city).
Upon entering the Lobby, you’re faced with the stark contrast of the old world medieval style of the city, and the modern chic that’s on display at the G&V. Although it’s a Club Carlson property, it’s part of the Qurovus Collection, so it’s a bit more upscale than what we have experienced at the previous Radisson properties.
We were informed that our room had been upgraded (thanks to the Amex hotel collection) and we could not have been more impressed. We made our way to our room on the third floor to discover an amazing corner view overlooking Victoria street, and a view of Edinburgh Castle.
Restaurant and Dining
Because I’m a Club Carlson Gold member, we had breakfast included every morning. While it was no Radisson Blu Royal Dublin (which we had been spoiled by), it was definitely nice to have that included with a buffet as well as eggs and coffee made to order. The real highlight of dining here is the G&V’s award winning restaurant, La Cucina. While we could have used our $75 hotel credit from Amex towards its equally impressive spa, we simply didn’t have enough time. Also, if there’s one thing I love, it’s Italian food, so we absolutely took advantage of this and it did not disappoint. With an appetizer, two entrees, a bottle of wine, and dessert, our bill was a little over $100, so the $75 credit really makes a difference being able to enjoy a top quality restaurant without breaking the bank.
This hotel is the perfect combination of price, value, and comfort. In fact, Katie and I said that when, not if, we go back to Edinburgh we will stay there again and take advantage of the Amex Hotel Collection offer. Also, we owe James, the Manager, a debt of gratitude after we realized we left our passports in our room safe (as we were halfway to the airport on the Air Link). James went above and beyond, calling my cell phone, and letting me know he had our passports en route to meet us with the license plate of the cab. By the time we got there, we were greeted by the extremely helpful and friendly cab driver with our passports safe and sound, save for a bit of a bruised ego on our part.